What That New Mattress Smell Means For Your Health

Shopping around for the perfect mattress can be an overwhelming process. There are so many factors to consider for comfort-compatibility alone, that it’s tempting to pull the covers over our eyes for other little details. But when creepy terms like “off-gassing” land on our radars, we can’t ignore our wellness-conscience’s urging to explore the chemical nitty gritty. 

It might be obnoxious to have to think about all these areas of toxic concern, but this is definitely not an situation in which ignorance is bliss.; sleeping through eight hours of toxic exposure isn’t our idea of a good night’s rest. We recently dove deep on the topic of chemicals in the bedroom and came across the brand new Saatva mattress, Zenhaven.

Like almost everything that matters to us in the wellness world, we were impressed that this mattress lives up to it’s promise of a penthouse suite-quality of comfort, and is structurally sound enough to last much longer than traditional latex mattresses. Here are the pros at Zenhaven answering all our questions on the dangers of toxic materials found in our own beds…  

The Chalkboard Mag: Let’s talk about that “new mattress smell.” In the past – just like with the “new car smell” – we’ve always thought of that scent as a good sign that something is new and clean. Talk to us about what we’re really smelling…

As with many new products, there’s a certain intangible, innocuous “new” smell that comes with them. However, the “new-mattress smell” warrants a closer sniff – especially as it relates to our health. What you’re smelling is off-gassing; the packaging materials and chemicals used are breaking down and dispersing into the air. This can last hours after the mattress is installed in its frame, and sometimes days.

Unlike the chemicals that create the “new car smell,” those used in mattresses, can be particularly harmful, and remain long after off-gassing is finished. While the chemicals may have broken down, the air circulation in our homes will continue carrying these toxins throughout our living space.

Cheaper beds that use 100% petroleum-based foams and that ship mattresses from overseas often require off-gassing. However, any all-natural product has no off-gassing. The Zenhaven is made of American Talalay latex harvested from pure havea sap from natural rubber trees and has no off-gassing. It arrives in the home ready to be placed in a bed frame and slept on that night.

TCM: Foam mattresses have been in style for years now. What chemical and health dangers have been associated with foam mattresses?

Foam mattresses have gained tremendous popularity, and for good reason – they are incredibly resistant to body impression, dustless, noiseless, durable and overall synonymous with comfortable, health-forward sleep. But synthetic foams are made with toxic chemicals, which also means they are particularly flammable. As a result, the toxic chemicals used to make the foam are then layered with even more toxic chemicals to make the foam fire-resistant. Side effects linked to sleeping on chemically-produced foam mattresses include: chest discomfort, headaches, coughing and nausea. So, yes polyurethane (foam) can be toxic if there are high levels of it used in a mattress.

Research by the CDC also shows that exposure to the isocyanate, a chemical used in the manufacturing of synthetic foams, like memory foam, can cause long-term headaches and respiratory irritations. The key is to find a mattress that has foams that aren’t processed with chemicals such as formaldehyde.

TCM: So, what’s to be done? Most of us don’t like the idea of removing the fire-safety benefits altogether.

Today, there are federal regulations in place by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that require mattress companies to make sure their mattresses meet certain flammability standards. Unfortunately, these standards often lead mattress companies to use chemicals in order to withstand the required 30 minutes of exposure to an open flame.

Sometimes, though, products designed to protect us from one thing can cause harm elsewhere. Ultimately, the real safety concern is what’s happening on a daily basis; the daily breathing in of toxic air from an off-gassed mattress – rather than the unlikely event of a fire.

Eco-friendly and organic mattresses are anti-microbial, constructed with biodegradable materials and don’t have any harsh chemicals. Zenhaven actually uses a natural, organic wool flame retardant to protect it from fire.

TCM: Your brand is natural, but still high-tech. We love that. Talk to us about the innovations featured in the mattresses that promote overall sleep health.

Eco-friendly and organic mattresses made from natural and renewable resources, constructed with biodegradable materials and they don’t have any harsh chemicals. It has been proven in testing that antimicrobial organisms, such as bacteria and mildew, won’t grow on this natural material. These materials also make for a more comfortable, higher quality sleep, and increase the overall lifespan of the mattress. Our new Zenhaven latex mattress is manufactured to last 15-20 years!

The mattresses are made with the most buoyant and pressure relieving material available today, which gives sleepers a weightless feel and does not transfer motion; it is durable yet instantly conforms to the body for consistent support; it enhances natural air flow, resulting in a mattress that is cool and comfortable at all times. It has been designed with a proprietary “5-zone” design that gives customized support for heavier areas of the body like torso and shoulders.
It’s also the only mattress on the market that you can flip to find your comfort level; one side is firmer, the other more plush.

We know detoxing your life can be overwhelming, but shopping green for the bedroom is crucial! What do you think readers? Are you detoxing your bedrooms?
Tell us your thoughts and what you’re loving. at home..

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